I had a brief few words with a priest friend this morning about the emotive side of religious experience. It seems we share a view of the best way to approach some of the most important "ceremonial" services in the Anglican liturgy.
Always a rather too emotional woman in many ways, I have found it best on most private and personal occasions where an issue at stake risks being swamped by emotion, to stand back if possible, and delay a reaction until such time as reason can be brought to bear on the subject.
Having decided to take part in the lenten meditation events each monday in St. M's I have found it overall a means of calming my chaotic thoughts and slowing down my more impulsive reactions to stressfull or controversial issues.
Meditation it seems has very different meanings to individual exponents of the process. Some like to sit in silence for most of the time. Some introduce a piece of scripture and reiterate parts of it until it imparts an almost hypnotic state in the participants. Some play music, or show films, each having an individual approach which either chimes with one's own attitude or occasionally causes consternation.
Today, already in a fairly sombre mood from my earlier discussion about Holy Week and Maundy Thursday in particular, I found my thoughts so melancholy that the really rather lovely presentation of scripture, music and silence resulted in tears.
I never cry in public if it can be avoided and rushed back to the quiet of the parish office (the church was particularly quiet today) had a brief howl, blew my nose and headed for the great outdoors.
Standing waiting for my bus I once again found tears threatening, and , desperate to avoid them, I started a conversation with a woman in front of me. She, clearly in need of someone to offload onto poured out a tale of domestic woe, enough to make a hardened 'counsellor) cry. So all in all, I was quite glad to get home and take my depression out on a bit of polishing.
Sometimes I wonder whether navel contemplation is the best way to go for someone who has a somewhat mercurial temperament.